While there’s no reason for us on the sidelines to have to choose between Marvel and DC – we’re free to cheer both companies on to make great comic book films – the two studios are – by their very nature – competitors. Each one is in the business of producing quality superhero entertainment content that reaps in big financial rewards – and we’re talking billions of dollar “big,” like The Avengers and The Dark Knight.

Case in point: last week, Warner Bros./DC decided to shift Batman vs. Superman back to a May 2016 release date that Marvel Studios had previously claimed for an as-yet unannounced “Phase 3″ film, and now the latter has gone ahead and claimed the 2015 date that BvS just vacated for writer/director Edgar Wright’s Ant-Man. That means we’ll get to see Paul Rudd and Michael Douglas in superhero gear two weeks earlier than expected – a much smaller jump than when Marvel originally bumped Ant-Man up from a November to July 2015 premiere.

That means that Ant-Man will now face off against director Joe Wright’s Peter Pan origin film – otherwise known simply as Pan – on July 17th in 2015. In general, that month has cooled down a bit, which is good news for your average moviegoer’s wallet; at one point, July 2015 was shaping up to be a major throwdown between studios, with a lineup that included Batman vs. Superman, Independence Day 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean 5 (all of which have since been delayed).

Unexpected hold-ups or change-of-plans can often derail a studio’s planned release date for one of its major tentpoles, and it’s not at all unusual to see their peers use the loss to gain some advantage – like when Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was moved up and took Fast & Furious 7‘s old 2014 date. Still, the fact that it’s Marvel that’s zeroing in on a prime date that DC has originally staked out, just makes it more entertaining to write about.

We’re still waiting to see who blinks first – Marvel or DC – and surrenders the May 6th, 2016 date to the other, but in the meantime Marvel is going to keep striving to expand its grasp on the superhero film marketplace, by releasing political thriller/sequel Captain America: The Winter Soldier and cosmic adventure Guardians of the Galaxy this year, followed by the “Phase 2″ capstone Avengers: Age of Ultron and then “Phase 3″ starter Ant-Man in 2015.

That make it DC’s move next, yes?

Ant-Man opens in theaters on July 17th, 2015.

Batman vs. Superman is now scheduled for release on May 6th, 2016.

Source: Box Office Mojo